UNC freshman Shea Rush may not play many minutes for the Tar Heels, but he serves an important role off the court — hat designer.
According to USA Today’s Nicole Auerbach, Rush got into designing hats in high school. He became interested after seeing both NBA and NFL players wear fashionable fedoras to press conferences, so he ordered the supplies and looked up how to make his own.
This season, he began wearing his own hats to games when his teammates took notice. They asked for their own.
According to Auerbach, Rush made 24 custom hats for the team, surveying players on height, colour, brim size, pinches, fabric, and designs.
He got them all ready on time for the NCAA Tournament.
Rush took every teammates’ needs into the process.
“You definitely want a bigger brim for the bigger the guy; it’s got to be in proportion,” Rush told Auerbach. “The little guys need ’em a little smaller. You’ve got to make it fit the person. I also had to try and make sure the hat fits with all the hair. Our guys have a lot of hair. Joel [Berry] was tough. Justin [Jackson] was tough. You’ve got to make sure there’s room in there.”
Head coach Roy Williams appears to be a fan, too.
“They could be Mafia hats, who knows? I like ’em. I’ve got one. … I don’t look good in a hat at all, may not look good anyway, but I know I don’t look good in a hat. But I’m going to try to put mine on. He asked me what colour, what band, all that stuff. Hats by Shea. It’s a pretty neat deal.”
Rush himself seems to be a bit of a Renaissance man. On his website, he also advertises his photography, with prints available to order. While the hat section is still on its way, he’s been teasing it on Instagram.
And an up-close look at a hat he made for a teammate:
Rush only played 28 minutes during the season, and it’s unclear if he’ll play more in the tournament.
In the meantime, he appears to have plenty of off-court pursuits to keep him busy, including making sure his teammates look good.
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